It is no secret that truck drivers are often on the road for many hours of the day and night, especially those who travel through many states. Those in New York who are not truckers may not be aware that in recent years, the government has tried to reduce the number of truck accidents by imposing strict rest breaks on truckers. However, those rules are changing.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has long required truckers to take a 30-minute rest break during each eight-hour shift and a 10-hour rest break each day. Now, however, the drivers may take their rest breaks at the end of their shifts. They may also remain compliant by taking two rest breaks instead of one 10-hour rest. Many truckers applaud these changes, saying that rest breaks in the middle of a shift disrupted their sleep patterns and made them even drowsier than if they had driven straight through.
However, safety advocates argue that long hours on the road can be exhausting, and driver fatigue is one of the most common factors in tractor-trailer accidents. The FMCSA had hoped its rigid regulations would reduce the number of truck crashes from as many as 1,714 per year. Many in the trucking industry believe the old rules instead increased the number of accidents.
While both sides of the controversy may have facts and statistics to support their claims, the real test occurs on the road. Whether truck accidents occur because of fatigue, distraction, impairment or other factors, they always have the potential to devastate lives. Fortunately, victims of these accidents have options for seeking compensation with the help of a New York attorney.